FYI Friday: Milk – It Does A Body Harm?

The other day as I was pursuing Twitter, I saw someone post an infographic about why people should not be drinking milk. Of course, I had to look at it and as I began to scroll through the text I got more and more infuriated.

hulk

I have already talked a little bit about milk and compared the nutritional value of cow, rice, almond & soy milk in a previous post. However I felt this infographic deserved some more attention to milk. So go ahead and check out the infographic for yourself and then I’ll tell you my thoughts.

milk2Source

First, take a minute and think about what your thoughts are on the infographic. Did you think there were some valid points. Is it making you question drinking milk?

Now, I’ll break down to you my thoughts on the different parts of it.

The U.S. drinks 9 times more milk per capita than China:

So what? The diet of Americans differs from Chinese. I’m sure the Chinese eat a lot more rice per capita than do Americans. Therefore, I am unsure what the relevance of this point is.

Drinking milk is not natural:

I despise this argument. A lot of anti-dairy proponents claim that it’s not natural to drink milk because we are drinking the milk of another animal and we are the only animals to do that.

First of all, we are the only animals to do a lot of things. We are the only animals to drive cars, talk on cellphones, travel by airplane, etc. We are more advanced than other animals and therefore what we do is different.

dog

Secondly, what exactly is natural about drinking the “milk” of an almond? Last I checked almonds, rice, soybeans don’t have mammary glands and can’t be “milked”.

jim

And lastly, what is “natural” is a pretty objective term. I don’t think it’s natural that some animals eat their own babies but that happens all the time.

Food Allergies & Intolerance:

The infographic states that 4% of adults have food allergies, but that doesn’t mean that 4% of adults have a milk allergy. In fact, while milk allergy is one of the most common allergies in children (about 2.5% of children), most outgrow this allergy. Very few adults have a true milk allergy.

It is true that about 33% of adults will develop lactose intolerance and it is more prevalent in african and asian americans. What this means is they lack or have limited amount of the enzyme that breaks down the sugar lactose contained in milk. However, those with lactose intolerance could still drink milk if they take an enzyme supplement and most can still tolerate small amounts of other dairy products such as cheese & yogurt. Lactose intolerance isn’t harmful. A person will experience some side effects such as upset stomach, bloating, diarrhea, etc. but it’s different from an allergy which can be severe and life-threatening.

sick

Growth Hormones:

In Canada, the use of growth hormones to increase cow’s milk production is prohibited. The same is true for antibiotics, there is strict testing and regulation on antibiotics. As for the US, it is my understanding that growth hormones are permitted, therefore this could be a concern to US milk drinkers. However, there are a lot of companies now promoting that their milk products do not contain growth hormones. Look for labels that say rBGH free.

Calories & Saturated Fat:

The infographic states that milk has the same calorie amount as soda and as much saturated fat as french fries. This is where my inner-hulk really came out! When looking at foods you should never just consider calorie amount. What you want to consider is energy density.

Pop is completely empty calories, it is composed of sugar and provides no health benefit to your body. Milk on the other hand contains protein, fat, calcium and minerals. To make any sort of comparison between pop and milk is ridiculous.

As for the saturated fat content. Saturated fat comes from animal sources so yes, milk does have some saturated fat. French fries however are made from potatoes, a vegetable, therefore they do not contain saturated fat. The saturated fat comes from the oil that they are fried in. While a large McDonald’s french fry is comparable to 1 glass 2% milk in saturated fat content (3g). The fries contain 27g total fat, which is over 5 times the amount of fat in a glass of milk. Therefore this comparison again is ridiculous.

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Ovarian Cancer/Type 1 Diabetes/Cardiovascular Disease:

Research has been done in this area and some studies have shown a correlation between milk intake and ovarian cancer, Type 1 Diabetes and Cardiovascular disease. However correlation does not prove causation. IE Just because those who drink more milk have higher rates of these diseases does not mean milk is the cause. There could be a multitude of other factors. For example with type 1 diabetes the studies found that those who drank cows milk younger and stopped breastfeeding had higher rates of type 1 diabetes. So is it the cow’s milk or the lack of breast milk that caused the diabetes. Or were neither one of these factors? There is certainly no definitive proof or link that milk intake causes cancer, diabetes or cardiovascular disease.

Bottom Line:

I don’t mean for this post to be pro-milk, you can drink whatever you choose. I just want you to be aware of the fact that the internet is full of misleading nutrition information and you need to ensure you read things very critically. Just because someone puts a bunch of facts into a fancy infographic doesn’t mean that those facts are true or in the case of this infographic, very misleading.

As for me…I love milk and will continue to drink it until the day I become lactose intolerant!

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Do you drink milk? What misleading information makes you angry?

 

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13 thoughts on “FYI Friday: Milk – It Does A Body Harm?

  1. The milk infographic is like so many other scare nutrition information items out on the internet these days. All these do is get people more paranoid about certain foods even though there is little factual evidence in them. Have you noticed how many people are gluten, lactose or some other intolerence these days?

    I grew up drinking milk daily but have not drank it in 20+ years. I get my calcium from other sources and I really don’t like it.

  2. Ok. So I have heard both sides of this argument. Pro-Cows Milk Pro-Other (soy/nut/yada) Milk.

    I had a Myology & Kinesiology teacher that said, the only thing that Cow’s milk is good for is to change a calf into a heffer.

    And I don’t think I exactly agree with it.

    No I do not like that there are extra hormones in our milk. I do not like that the cows are over producing milk.. and in my head, I think that has a correlation with the amount of allergies to lactose. But, that’s just me.

    My son drinks whole milk. With his cereal, as a drink, whenever he wants a glass. I did as a kid, and I am fine. I will have a glass of milk now and again.. but I did get into Almond Milk, and it’s just a calorie thing for me.
    But, I will not have dry cereal, if the only option is regular whole milk.. that’s just stupid.

    I think all things are good in moderation… I also think that too much of anything is also a bad thing.
    Does that make sense?

    I can rant about this all day. Do what’s good for you and your family. As long as you are striving to be healthy… what’s the problem. All of our bodies are different…

  3. These are the kind of info graphics that create those fad diets out there that drive me nuts. haha I completely agree with you! I also think anything in moderation is fine. I like milk in my cereal, oatmeal and baking 🙂

  4. Confession: milk grosses me out. I absolutely CANNOT drink a glass of it. Hork. But?! all those ‘claims’ made me laugh and then roll my eyes. I also quite LOVE that milk in Canada doesn’t have growth hormones, and I silently giggle to myself when I hear friends blame things on non-existent hormones in our milk. Sometimes I am a jerk.

    PS – I’ve nominated you for a Liebster! http://cowgirlruns.com/you-really-really-like-me/

  5. This was fascinating – for both the points debunked and verified. For example, I would have thought that 33% of Americans being lactose intolerant was crap, but it’s not. As my SD likes to lecture from the anti-milk soap box, I rather smiled at the ones you debunked though. Most aggravating to me is, as you’ve pointed out, the fact that correlation does not mean causation. Stats are abused all the time that way, in so many different topics! For many readers, it seems the internet has exorcised critical thinking skills instead of exercising them.

  6. Reading the infographic all I thought was “no, no, no”…then reading your post I thought “yes, yes, yes”. But really, how is drinking milk not natural…(roll my eyes). With our patients who are lactose intolerant, we actually introduce dairy in small amounts to build a tolerance!

    Ps. I really appreciate that you went through each point, what commitment!!! 🙂

  7. The thing that made me the most mad in this info graphic was the calorie comparison of milk and soda. It’s the perfect example how information can be skewed and people who don’t know better believe that the comparison has merit. I couldn’t keep reading after that!

  8. Pingback: Link Love: 5/3 | Cowgirl Runs

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